Saturday, November 10, 2007

Traditional Chinese Medicine

The ancient healers used body parts of animals that are wild, in medicines when the animals were in large numbers and were truly wild. In the present world the truly wild tigers, lions leopards etc are simply not there. The few which are out in the forests are mostly collared, monitored, even reared by humans and sent into the wild.
In that situation how can any doctor who uses TCM vouch for its qualities? Blindly following the tradition of elders who had few other options, is misleading patients and customers of TCM.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Urban Wildlife

Observing around the tiny green space around the house can be rewarding for a wildlife lover. Here is something whic fascinated me for over two weeks.
Can you make out the pupa on the curry leaves branch? It is shaped and coloured like a curry leaf.

The second photo is a close up of the pupa.
The third one is the empty pupa. Though I kept observing the branch everyday for more than 10 days, the butterfly flew away early morning one day leaving the empty cocoon for me to document. I could not verify what the butterfly (the pupa could be that of a moth too) waslike, when it spread its wings and flew away.

I am also including the pic of a commonly seen butterfly which sits on the curry leaves tree. May be this is the butterfly whose metamorphosis I witnessed!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Festival Season

Help build environmental awareness this holiday season!Choose a Diwali gift from

Our VideoCDs make a perfect Diwali gift for friends, co-workers and in-laws -- particularly those on your list who are so busy running their daily lives , they have grown away from the beauty of NATURE and WILDLIFE! Or may be you know they already care deeply about the environment and they'd just really enjoy watching these VCDs!

Our titles "Sarang The Peacock", "To Corbett With Love", "Seoul", Wilderness Nepal" and "Living with the Park" are also available at a music store near you (in India). Ask for the film by title.

It is also time to place an order for your 2008 calendar. Click here for more details

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Online chat "Urban Wildlife"

Chat on 18th October 2007 (Thursday)

Log in to for an online chat on

" Urban Wildlife"

between 7.30pm (IST) and 8.30pm (IST)* on 18th October 2007.

All are welcome.

The chat will be moderated by Lima Rosalind**
To reach the chat room, enter with your username(email id) and password for IndianWildlifeCub at the appointed time.

**Lima Rosalind is Director Environment Education, WWF (I), Lodhi road, New Delhi.

She can be contacted at

Attempt a quiz by clicking on the link below

Quiz on are we poisoning our Home Planet?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Aravali Biodiversity Park-Nature does not protest, it adapts!

Nature does not protest, it adapts!

The Delhi bird Group organized a Sunday morning walk in the Aravali Biodiversity Park, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. Here are some thoughts from the walk.

The Aravali Bio diversity Park is formed out of degraded land reclaimed from the business house of Scindias who had a mining lease for the 2.3 area. This means that anything that can be plundered out of the forest/earth including mica, sand and water have all been taken out.

So instead of the sprawling forest the ridge was once, we have land pockmarked by pits and hillocks with "Vilayati Keekar" growing all over, thanks to the areal seeding done by the forest department.

2004- Enter the DDA and Delhi University. The pits are cemented (with biodegradable slurry) to encourage rainwater retention. Native trees are planted under a systematic planting program to slowly remove the "Vilayati Keekar", which being an exotic species do not harbour native insects or birds.

June 2007 - A group of nature lovers take a walk in the Park. Dr. M.Shah Hussain along with Dr.Yasir lead the walk.

Coppersmith! little cormorant in flight! Koyal! Parakeets! The birders are excited at almost every turn.

As we walked on, Indian Robin, Red Vented Bulbul, White Eared Bulbul, Purple sunbird, common Mynas, Wren Warbler and some flying Black kites become common sightings during the trail. Plain tiger butterflies and blue pansy flitted about in the area
where native vegetation has started taking root.

At least a couple of peacocks showed up close; though the morning was pierced by their calls often.

Every now and and then a thundering sound of planes taking off from the airport nearby kept reminding us we are not far from an international airport.

As we reached the periphery of the park, a bevy of peahens took off into the air. Monsoon is expected in a week, and all of them must be having eggs about to be hatched or just hatched chicks. A group of over 30 walkers would have set the alarm calls for them. They have chosen the nursery space carefully-slightly higher ground with thick bushes so that rainwater will not harm them.

Do peahens also tend to remain close to each other while raising the young? So that they can forage by turn may be? Do peahen mothers care for peachicks not their own?

At the end of the walk, one was amazed at the manner in which nature adapted. The mining pits are now small water holes attracting water cocks and cormorants-Cementing the areas with bio degradable materials -the little bit of egging on by the CEMDE, Delhi University (Center for Environment Management & Degraded Ecosystem), is rejuvenating the forest.

Selective planting of native species like Berry, Jamun,Khiorni, Guava and Anar trees etc. are automatically collecting around them the natural biotic creatures-birds, butterflies, ferrals.

Nature does not protest but adapts!

Photographs in order of appearing
1.The soil is rich in Mica
2.Walkers in single file
3.Dr. Husain
4.Bird watcher
5. Natural lake

See photographs of som eof the birds and butterflies at DelhiBird
by clicking here
[Open in new window]

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Here is the Happy Ending of the tale of Peahen. This picture appeared in the Times Of India of 18 th June 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bear conservation Online Chat

Bear Conservation and Protection
Online chat on

6/18/2007 Moderator: Kartick Satyanarayan


Sloth Bear The Sloth Bear is used by Kalandar Communities in India for bear dancing, However the Kalandar communities in Pakistan also use the

Himalayan Black Bear for Dancing as well as Bear Baiting practices …

Sloth Bear Yes - it is possible that there could have been such brutal sports in Europe as well. Eastern Europe to this day has Dancing Bears. …..

Esskay But then Europe is far more aware. The last issue of RD in fact carried an article on how a whole town got together to bid good bye when two of its last dancing bears were being released into wilderness ….

Vasudha Esskay, releasing animals back into the wild is I think a scientific process that is to be done with careful thought and planning ………….

Susan The line between animal conservation and animal rights is blurred ………………

Sloth Bear Also we could make a copy of the Video "The Last Dance" available for your members if they would be interested. ……………

Read on at the link

Monday, June 18, 2007

Tale of a peahen

Tale of a peahen

It is that time of the year when peahens lay their eggs and incubate them for about 29 days before the eggs hatch. The little chicks are timed to come out just as the monsoon arrives in North India.

As if to prove what great adapters they are, the peahens in Delhi’s Lodi Park, finding the Lodi lawns lacking the privacy and security needed for eggs, started looking around for safe perches. The nearest large green space happened to be the India International Center (IIC) Lawns! But here again the lawns are manicured and tended to by the ‘Malis’ all the time. So, where next?

Fly right onto the ledges provided on each floor of IIC for keeping a pot of green ferns.

Lay the eggs one by one and incubate them.

The ledge happened to be next to the dining hall of IIC. But the peahen was lucky. The waiters at the dining hall ensured that the curtains were drawn all the time so that curious diners did not distract the peahen.

The nature group at IIC were informed. Rajesh Bedi ( of Bedi Bros ) installed a close circuit TV in the dining hall so that the activities of the peahen can be monitored (without her knowing about it)

Best of Luck Mrs Peahen!!

Mr.Samar Singh of World Pheasant Association took the opportunity to educate the nature group more about the National bird. A slide presentation on the Blue peafowl by Hemant Misra and a screening of “Sarang the Peacock” by Dr.Susan Sharma was organized to a group of enthusiastic nature group members of IIC, on 27 May 2007.

( Photographs of peahen and eggs by Hemant Misra)

Own an enameled silver peacock, exclusively carved by artisans from Rajasthan!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Conservation Films

Conservation films

India offers a showcase for wildlife second only to Africa. India and Nepal are two countries of the world blessed with incredible eco systems and bio- diversity. has produced a number of documentary films on wildlife, nature and our cultural heritage under the banner "". Some of these films have been given 'educational' category certification by the Censor Board and have also been exhibited and acclaimed in international documentary film festivals. is also empanelled with the Directorate of Adult Education for relevant program production. Our films are being telecast by Gyandarshan, the educational channel of IGNOU.
India International Centre, New Delhi, India Habitat Center, New Delhi, Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi, Nehru Centre, Mumbai, Y.B Chavan Auditorium, Mumbai and Sofia College Auditorium, Mumbai are some of the halls where the films have been screened over the last five years.
These films are

Sarang The Peacock- 23 minutes

About The Flim

This is a video presented at two levels. It is a film on the Indian peafowl shorn of legend , folklore and mythology- a film on the live bird. It is also a film which visualizes two prominent Hindustani raagas' Sarang' and 'Megh'.

'Sarang' in Hindi, is a word which has multiple meanings, one of which is the peacock. Some of the other meanings given in the dictionary are, sun, clouds, frogs, snakes etc. All these form an integral part of the natural habitat of the peacock and form the backdrop for the pea fowls featured in the film.

The peacock is a fine example of much that is Indian in idiom, music and rhythm.

The film is a sensitive portrayal of the bird's relationship with nature, its habitat, and its interface with the earthy village landscape.

It is also a tribute to the music it lives and dances to, be it the classical ragas or the clouds and the rain.

The peacock was declared India's National Bird in 1963 but few, if any, films have been devoted entirely to this magnificent bird.

This 22 minute documentary examines the Indian peafowl from hatching to adulthood through a story told by the camera. Peafowls are found in abundance in large green stretches in many parts of Northern India. The film is the result of observing and photographing pea fowls in their natural habitat for a period of over one and a half years. Location shooting was done in the Deer Park and Tuglakabad Fort areas of New Delhi.

Where do peahen incubate her eggs?
What colours are there on a peachick?
Do peahens eat snakes?
See what the camera has to tell.
'Sarang' is also a Hindustani raag. 'Vrindavani Sarang' is visualized in the courtship dance of the peacock in the film. The soulful rendering on the violin was composed by Joi Srivastava who also uses 'Megh' raag to visualize the rainy season.

Visualzing Hindustani raagas through paintings was a tradition in India in the 17th and 18th century. The miniature painting schools of Pahari, Kangra, etc. specialized in 'Ragmala Paintings'. Peacock figures appeared in many of these paintings accompanying a woman, lovely in herself, but restless with longing. Peacock is used as a symbol of the absent lover. The flowing rhythmical lines and simple unaffected naturalism of these paintings are highlighted as a finale to the film.

VHS(PAL) cassettes and VCDs of the short film are being marketed by excelhomevidoes and are available in leading stores in India.

View a 2.5 minute long trailer of this film at

To purchase the film online go to

To Corbett With Love 24 minutes

About The Film

Corbett National Park nestles in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is the first national park of the Indian sub-continent and was the launching pad for the region's ambitious conservation plan called Project Tiger in 1974.

This 24 minute video was exclusively shot in Corbett Park and portrays the park from the viewpoint of a tourist. Corbett's magnificent forests with their rich flora and fauna attract some 48,000 tourists annually, many returning year after year for sightings of tigers, elephants, deer, ghariyals etc. and some 500 odd species of birds. The film looks at the conversion of Jim Corbett, the Nainital- born Britisher who founded the National Park, from hunter to protector of wildlife.

The park's employees - rangers, forest guards and mahouts face threats from wild animals and poachers. In the film you can meet Subedar Ali, the mahout who survived a tiger attack, spent a year in hospital and then came back to work in Corbett Park as a mahout, taking photographers and tourists for jungle trips.

The film is a tribute to the silent protectors of the tiger. It has been motivated by the belief that the Indian tiger has a better chance of survival when it is worth more alive than dead. Each tourist to the Park who has been lucky to sight a tiger goes back with unforgettable memories. Even those who don't manage seeing a tiger cannot but wonder at the Park's ambience, where elephants, deer and others are sure to make eye contact with you.

The film makes a subtle statement about saving the tiger through Subedar Ali; not in so many words as from the obvious passion this mahout has for wildlife.

VHS(PAL) cassettes and VCDs of the short film are being marketed by excelhomevidoes and are available in leading stores in India.

Watch a trailer 2.25 minutes at the link

Buy this film at

Wilderness Nepal 25 minutes

About the Film

The film looks at the wilderness of the Himalayan region with special reference to Nepal. Nepal fosters an incredible variety of eco systems and is a hotspot of bio diversity.
Exclusive footage of the Indian Rhino and the Asian elephant from the Royal Chitwan National Park, which is guarded by the Royal Nepal army from rhino poachers. While depicting the natural beauty of Nepal, the film also projects the 'community forests' concept in Nepal which has proved a success in maintaining the wetland area of "twenty thousand lakes", a paradise for bird watchers.

The concerns facing wildlife protection are projected in the overall role it plays in the ecology of the entire area. The evolution and extinction of species is looked at in the backdrop of the spectacular natural history event by which the Himalayan mountains were formed sixty million years ago. Digital animation techniques have helped visualize the event.

Unchecked mining in the forested hills causes floods during monsoon and water shortages during the dry season. Decrease in primary and secondary forest area is posing a question mark on the future of the Bengal tiger and in particular the Asian elephant in Nepal.

The film is available for telecast in beta-SP /digital format.

View a 2.5 minute long trailer of this film at

To purchase the film online go to

Seoul-Where Modernity bows to Tradition 22 minutes

The film is a travelogue on Seoul, the capital city of the Republic of Korea. The film is a study of the synthesis of the modern and the traditional that S.Korea has achieved. It depicts the natural beauty of Korea in the backdrop of its violent and tumultuous history. S. Korea comes through as a Society which is truly at peace with its tradition, culture and modernity. The film also brings out parallels between India and Korea, two ancient countries striving to set a high pace of development.

The film depicts Korea through the ages and has footage on

-- National Museum and Folk Village
-- Bukansan National Park
-- Royal Palaces
-- Incheon Port
-- Modern Seoul City

The film is available in Beta-SP for telecast.

The film is being telecast by Indira Gandhi National Open University in their channel "Gyandarshan". The film has been accepted by Cathay Pacific Airlines for in flight entertainment. The Korean Embassy in New Delhi is screening it for the students of Korean Language from Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University at special screenings in the Embassy.

View a 2.5 minute long trailer of this film at

To purchase the film online go to

Living with the Park-Ranthambore 25 minutes

About The Flim

Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan is perhaps the most popular tourist destination to watch tigers in the wild. But despite the tourist dollars, the Park├ó€™s main attraction, the Bengal Tiger is in danger of getting decimated here, as it has already happened in Sariska. Is it time we looked outside the park for the reasons, at the humanity which is living outside, their lives still connected to the Park- the people who are living with the Park?

This short film from, is a look at the popular tiger reserve as an integrated universe comprising its animals and people in the adjoining areas. The forest connects the two and neither one can flourish without the other. So is the policy of segregating the park as a preserve for animals alienating the people who lived in harmony with the park for decades, helping the Park? There are no quick answers. The camera shows people around the Park voicing their pride in and reservations about the Park. Is the Park management listening? For in the interest of preservation it seems foolish to ignore the distilled wisdom of people whose lives are in tune with nature.

The questions the film raises are:
1) Can we integrate life outside the Park with efforts at preservation?
2) Do the people living around the Park have a stake in protecting the Park and its animals?
3) Given a stake in the health of the park, a role in running it, will they develop a sense of pride and protect the animals inside?
4) Can conservationists help people living with the Park, see the linkage of the Park with their own well-being?
5) Will these people who have lived in harmony with the Park for many years, then develop a stake and pride in the Park and its animals?

View a 2.5 minute long trailer of this film at

To purchase the film online go to

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Dachigam National Park,Kashmir

Trip to Dachigam National Park, Srinagar August 2006

- Susan Sharma

Just like Maharashtra has a national park right next to its capital Mumbai, Jammu and Kashmir has a national park within Srinagar, just a couple of km from the heart of Srinagar. Dachigam is famous for protecting the last few numbers of Hangul deer in the wild. Seeing a wild hangul was on top of my list when I visited Srinagar in August 2006.

August 15, Independence Day, was just a day away. The Indian Army was out patrolling, with an armed gunman at almost every 100 meters or so. Going to Dachigam meant organizing passes and special permissions, which the owner of the houseboat we stayed in gracefully organized. So we set off to see hangul and black bear both of which are famous residents of the Park. Just as we entered the park we saw a group of grey langurs, again endemic to this forest jumping about in the trees. On closer look these langurs did look different from the langurs we see in Delhi; much bigger and indeed, grey. I was happy that no one including the forest guard and the army person who accompanied us objected to my using the video camera.

Next stop was an enclosure where the forest officials had rescued a baby black bear whose mother had been killed (probably by angry villagers whose crops the bear raid often). This small fellow was trying eat rotis and drink milk provided in a pan. I could have taken a photo but did not. Somehow the idea of photographing a deprived baby black bear in a cage right inside a national park did not appeal to me. (My camera bag refused to open for the leopards caged inside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai too).

Suddenly we were told to keep away all cameras as we were entering a high security zone- permission to enter this area was difficult to obtain-Mr. Chapri our host informed us. Our group consisted of my husband, son and a French couple. ALL OF US WERE CURIOUS-MAY BE WE ARE GOING TO SEE THE PROTECTED HANGUL FINALLY!

Our ‘Qualis’ entered a huge gate to reveal a beautifully maintained villa and park-the winter residence of the erstwhile Prime Ministers of India. We were told this was the private house to which Indira Gandhi retreated when she wanted privacy. The outside of the building was paneled with oak tree logs. The garden had huge trees. A very peaceful place –right inside the Dachigam National Park!

What about the hanguls we asked. The forest guard replied that one has to climb up to much higher altitudes to see them and all those areas are now out of bounds thanks to militancy. He assured us that in higher altitudes there were black bears and Himalayan Monals in plenty- but the area is infested with militants and none is allowed to go trekking.

I had seen a documentary on the demilitarized zone of South and North Korea. The film showed how the DMZ protected highly endangered deer and antelope population of those areas thanks to heavy patrolling and some awareness among the army personnel who helped feeding these animals in periods of extreme weather conditions. May be a similar miracle is happening in Dachigam too- or is that being too optimistic?

Our forest guard companion was very happy to talk about his experiences. He was a dedicated man –dedicated to saving the black bear in particular. He passionately believed that the Dachigam forest will survive only if the bear population is healthy and thriving. The forest belonged to them and then only to man he told us. We did see glimpses of gurgling streams inside. The air and water inside is pure and one will never get ill if you stay inside the forest, another Kashmiri who was working with the rainbow trout project explained.

Our next stop was the rainbow trout center. Here the trout are bred scientifically and the produce sold outside at reasonable prices-one person is allowed to buy only 2 kilos in a day. The scheme is so popular, that all the produce is sold out in a couple of hours. The trout center was well maintained. I had never seen such large trouts before. Gulmarg has a trout centre where tourists can buy coupons for fishing - again in a rationed manner- one coupon entitles you to four catches. But the rainbow trouts there were not so big.

Suddenly we were told our time inside the Park was up. We had seen all that was allowed to be seen by tourists.

I asked for some pamphlets on the Park. Our forest guard friend gave a moth eaten book produced by Sanctuary magazine for the Department of Wildlife Protection, J&K Government. It had obviously been written at a time when the Park had seen better days. I thanked him and as was happening all too often during our trip to Kashmir, my eyes filled up, this time for the beautiful animals in a beautiful park.

I could not but admire the pride and faith of the forest guard who reaffirmed my own faith that you can never subdue nature. In that sense our visit to Dachigam had a silver lining.

Photographs in sequence
Lidder River which runs through Kashmir
Gulmarg Slopes
Musk Deer
Hangul stag by Joanna van Gruisen taken from the Sanctuary publication

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Friday, June 1, 2007

Butterfly Park in Delhi

Encouraged by the number of butterflies visiting the JNU campus, the Jawaharlal Nehru University is all set to develop a Butterfly Park within its premises to attract more species.

More than 50 species of butterflies can be seen fluttering around the University in the Spring season. Rare species like Red Pierrot, Common Jay and Peacock Pansy are often spotted.

Source: The Indian Express, 11 April, 2007

Photograph of Common Emigrant butterfly by Jayant Deshpande
More butterfly photographs at